A POWER generator this week announced plans to reduce its gas emissions.

RWE Generation said it would progress investment in retrofit of the ‘Low NOx boiler technology’ at Aberthaw Power Station with the technology expected to reduce the station’s emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) by more than 60 per cent.

It is the first step to progressively reduce station NOx emissions to the levels required to allow opt into the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) a piece of European legislation – which will come into effect in January 2016.

The combination of Low NOx boilers and existing Flue Gas Desulphurisation should meet emissions requirements for operation to well into the 2020s.

Installing the Low NOx Boilers is expected to be around £12 million per unit and will initially involve one unit of the power station.

Work will be done during a planned major outage in mid 2015 and the station will also be considering the option of installing Low NOx boiler technology on the other two generating units over the following four years.

RWE has been investigating a range of emission abatement technologies for Aberthaw Power Station in order to extend the life of the South Wales coal plant and comply with further tightening on the levels of SO2, NOx and particulate emissions that power stations may emit.

RWE said it believed coal would continue to play an important part of the UK energy mix, ensuring security of supply in an ever tightening market.

Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Hard Coal, Gas, Biomass, Roger Miesen said: “This is a really positive step to secure the future of Aberthaw Power Station beyond 2016, keeping our options open. It is a positive signal for jobs in Wales and across the Welsh mining community. However, there is still more to understand regarding the longer term future of the power plant. We need to have long term clarity on how the energy market will operate under the Government’s new energy legislation, including the NOx Transitional National Plan, the capacity market, carbon floor price and proposed changes to transmission costs.”

RWE has invested more than £230 million in Aberthaw in recent years to reduce emissions and gain generation performance.

Vale AM, Jane Hutt said: "Having worked closely with the power station and Welsh Government ministers, it is fantastic to see the RWE Board supporting this investment which is hopefully the first step in securing the long term future of the operation and the thousands of associated jobs."